Gridworks, the new company dedicated to investing in electricity networks across Africa, has appointed Helen Tarnoy as Chair of its Board of Directors.
Capitalised by CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, Gridworks was launched last month. It aims to invest over US$300 million of long-term capital to improve the transmission, distribution and off-grid electricity infrastructure that delivers reliable and sustainable power across Africa.
Helen Tarnoy has over 20 years’ experience in the independent power sector in emerging markets, from the post-Communist economies of Central and Eastern Europe to more recent experience developing and managing power projects across sub-Saharan Africa.
Helen was most recently Managing Director of Aldwych International, one of the leading power companies operating in Africa. As a founder of Aldwych, she played an instrumental role in the company’s growth and its development of power projects in Kenya (including the continent’s largest wind farm, the 310MW Lake Turkana project), South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as renewable power projects in development in Tanzania, South Sudan, Chad and The Gambia.
Prior to joining Aldwych, Helen was a Vice President at the AES Corporation where she advised governments and utilities in Hungary and other post-Communist European countries on the structuring of their independent power sectors. She also led the acquisition and management of electricity projects in Tanzania and in Cameroon, where she was the CEO of the national power utility, AES Sonel (now Eneo). She is also a winner of “Africa’s Leading Energy Personality” award for 2011, African Untility Week’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016/2017 and the MIGA Gender CEO award for 2017.
Welcoming Helen’s appointment, the Chief Executive of Gridworks, Simon Hodson, said:
“I’m delighted that Helen has agreed to join us as Chair of Gridworks’ Board. Helen’s deep knowledge of the African electricity sector, coupled with her widely recognised leadership in the industry, will help Gridworks as we seek to play a central role in transforming Africa’s power infrastructure.”
Helen Tarnoy said:
“I am honoured to be appointed to chair the Board of Gridworks. The potential development impact of this venture is huge. Bringing finance to power transmission and distribution in countries where the need is great, but the resources are limited, allows those countries to deliver reliable power to industries and households, and in turn to develop their economies and lift their people out of poverty. I believe Gridworks has a bright future and I very much look forward to being part of it.”
Sustainable, affordable and reliable power is one of Africa’s biggest challenges with over 600 million people going without electricity and the benefits it brings. Despite recent investment and improvements in electricity generation, the lack of progress in developing transmission and distribution infrastructure has become a significant bottleneck to economic development across the continent. Gridworks will work with governments, multilateral organisations and other investors to bring flexible, patient capital and private sector expertise to the sector. It will develop and then invest in commercially sustainable infrastructure, bringing affordable, reliable power to the people and businesses who need it.
Gridworks aims to support businesses in the transmission, distribution and off-grid electricity space and made its first investment in June this year. It committed US$7.5 million in equity to become a shareholder in Mettle Solar Investments, a leading pan-African commercial and industrial solar platform company that provides a variety of affordable renewable energy solutions to commercial and industrial customers.
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Notes to Editors: Gridworks Development Partners LLP is a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales. Find out more about Gridworks at: www.gridworkspartners.com